Fasth Train

It doesn’t matter where they come from, all they need to do is stop the damn puck. In Canada, more phone calls have been made in search of goalies (all the way from pick  up games to rec league to pro hockey) than the search for girls. Well, maybe not but it’s close.

Viktor Fasth is not a huge goaltender by today’s standards (6.00, 198) and he’s no kid (born in 1982, he can see 30 up the road apiece) but he’s as hot as hot can be right now. Fasth is coming off a quality SEL season (42gp, 2.26 .925SP) and has gone supernova at the World Hockey Championships (4gp, 0.50 .983). He won the "Honken" trophy as the SEL’s best goaler this season and NHL teams are circling.

The Edmonton Oilers have a few things they can offer Fasth. One: NHL employment. With NK’s legal situation on the docket for this summer the Oilers will no doubt do the prudent thing and protect themselves with a suitable replacement. Should said player win a job outright (not impossible based on Khabibulin’s Red Light Racicot moments this past season) then the Russian may spend next season in the Sheldon Souray "richest man in the minors" seat. Two: they can pay him very good dollars based on their cap situation.

Any number of NHL teams have been associated with Fasth. If you google "Fasth-NHL" you get over 1 million results including this one that has Steve Yzerman interested in the suddenly popular Fasth. He has a contract for next year, but these things have a way of working themselves out.

Viktor Fasth could be the most important free agent signing the Oilers make this summer. Seriously. Goaltending is miles from being adequate despite a very fine showing by rookie Devan Dubnyk. The elephant in the room is the Russian goaltender. Viktor Fasth could change all that in a heartbeat.

  • striker777

    i’m all for running at Fasth but for cripes sake can we not become the next philly flyers with our goalies.

    let’s find something that works and work it.

      • why not bring him to OKC? never heard of him but sure…JDD is done in oil silks, gerber must want a shot somewhere else and roy needs a partner.

        if screwing with goalies (apparently it is)is a must lets screw with them in OKC.

        • Of course, he can get some experience with the Barons first. But eventually Dubnyk-Hellberg (or Hellberg-Dubnyk) combination will help the Oilers to win more games than to lose. On the other hand, they won’t be able to do that without solid “D” in front of them:)

          • Quicksilver ballet

            i just had a quick read of hellberg to find out he is 6’5″ and only 20yrs old. is he draft elegible yet?

            sounds intriquing.

            i agree with buttermillk biscuits tho…im a fan of dubnyk and would like to see him be, at least, given the chance to prove me wrong.

          • Crash

            I’ve posted some data on him above. Hellberg might go right after Gibson. Use one of two third-round picks we have unless he is claimed by then (I though about getting him with the Calgary pick, but now doubt that he will last that long).

        • Quicksilver ballet

          From “draftwatch”:

          Magnus Hellberg, G Almtuna (SWE-2)- Huge late-bloomer will likely be the top-three or four goalies off the board in June because he’s older and more advanced in his development. Teams may be hoping to grab the Swede and put him immediately into the AHL with potential for him to see NHL action sooner rather than later. Takes up so much of the net, but is also extremely agile and recovers well. Plays with some laudable focus and concentration and that is borne out in his numbers, which are terrific. The April 1991 birthdate is 6-5, 200 pounds and posted an insane .935 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in 31 games for the Allsvenskan club Almtuna. Don’t be surprised to see him go off the board first or even second after Gibson. This is the kind of player that could easily be rated the top goaltender on multiple teams’ boards. Central didn’t even have him on their mid-term rankings. That’s how quickly Hellberg’s star has risen this season.

          • VMR

            Warning bells are sounding. “Star has risen quickly”, for a goaltender sounds like on an extended hot streak that he may never live up to. Kind of like the amazing Jim Carey “the Net Detective” for one season in Washington or Andrew Raycroft at one point for the Bruins or any of several other guys who may have been the best goalie in the world for a short spell and then quickly disappeared off the face of the planet.

            I’d rather try and sign a free agent in Fasth than waste a high draft pick on a guy who’s likely to burn out pretty quick.

            PS. Never thought Rollie was washed up, wasnt sure about signing him long term with his age but replacing him with a guy almost as old, who had suffered several injuries including his back problems which tend to be long term, and hadnt played very well in several years was just insane. Never understood it.

          • thetikk

            Fair enough. However, Hellberg is characterized as the “late bloomer” who has been under the radar for quite some time. Perhaps, he has just made his next big step in development and is finally noticed for his combination of size, poise and skill. Where is he going from here? I don’t know. All in all, drafting him will be somewhat of a gamble, but with a huge potential upside. Hey, aren’t they all “a gamble”? 🙂

    • fuck off

      The Oilers will never be the Flyers. Phily pulls a keeper after a few soft games, or even a couple soft goals. Edmonton lets the guy stink it up until he’s proven that he can’t do the job; which is where we are at with Super Bowl Sunday.

      @ Lowetide
      Hey LT, any possible updates on the few, or lone Oilers prospect(s) still playing in CHL playoffs right now? I noticed Czerwonka’s name on the score sheet last night via TSN. Have you followed his playoff performance?

      • fuck off

        let me clarify by saying i am not comparing the oilers goaltending to this year’s philly debacle. no one in the history of goaltending management can beat that level of stupid.

        the oil tho need to shut the carnival down soon and stop juggling goalies. we need some consistency somewhere and at sometime…hope fully that time is soon. sticking with the carnival theme we need to press the e-stop on the goalie carousel.

  • Hey, I’ll thrown another name out there in guys who could man the nets for Edmonton next year?

    Nikolai Khabibulin.

    Why not give the dude another chance? It’s not like he’s going anywhere and, hopefully, by training camp, the distraction of the DUI charge and the night sleeping on a cot in the outdoor prison in Arizona will be behind him.

    There’s no reason why NK can’t have the kind of rebound season that Rolly’s having. And no, that doesn’t mean NK has to lead the Oilers to the semis next year to have a “rebound” season.

    We all pretty much figured Rolly was over-and-done when he left here but lo and behold he wasn’t.

    Why can’t it be the same with NK?

    Just a thought.

  • I tried it at home

    thetikk, youve made your point. Before this tangent takes over the whole thread discussion, lets just drop it. I want to read about possibilities in goaltenders, not juvenile remarks and hurt feelings.

    • thetikk

      I understand IWA, and agree, yet I do feel compelled to point out inappropriate comments as they arise, since the moderators of this section don’t seem greatly motivated to deal with them.

      As far as Fasth-talk goes, I seem to remember hearing some sort of hockey cliche about building from the net out. Clearly not Tambien’s strategy…

  • Ender

    Here’s a pot stirer for ya:

    what’s your guys’ take on having Souray come to camp next year? If two grown men could put away their pride we could use Sheldon on the point next year.

    I like him better than grebby (who i still blame for us losing the cup in 06)

    • VMR

      if tamby isn’t gonna do anything else except pat himself on the back for the 1st overall pick (again), then sure why not.

      bring him back and see if we can obtain any assets in a trade later on.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I think the point has been made very clear to Sheldon and I for one would be impressed if management and Sheldon could work it out! It would also impress free-agents I suspect. Besides Who knows he could have a great year.

    • hoil

      Souray threw the team management under the bus, and whether he was right or wrong, I would bet in the tens of dollars that he won’t be playing in an Oiler uniform again.

      And if you mean Grebeshkov by Grebby, I think you have him confused with MA Bergeron, unless I am missing out on a joke somewhere.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m in Khabibulins corner as well.

    I have little faith in Dubnyk being able to play consistantly at a high level for 60+ games a year.

    Like the idea of bringing Souray back as well, it’s okay to hate what he said, it’s not okay to abandon it without resolution. It paints the whole organization with that same brush.

  • Ender

    I wanted to see how clairvoyant I was, so I went back to see if I remembered my take on Roli correctly. I did.

    Ender wrote:

    Why are people unhappy with this? I figure that Roli will see the writing on the wall and accept this [1-year] offer fairly soon. For anyone who thinks this is a mistake, your memories are all very short. For one season, there is no reason to think Roli cannot deliver the same performance as last year, and Roli earned his cheque last year. Let’s put the puzzle piece in place, be happy the hole is filled, and move on to the real problems the Oilers still need to address.

    I was wishy-washy about signing him for 2-years, but I honestly didn’t think he’d get a lot of other offers.

    As I looked up my quote, I decided to see what some other famous people had to say that day. This one caught my eye.

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Roli can play another year, he was mostly very good this year, but any attempt to strong arm a 2 yr deal ought to be met with an indignant laugh. It should feel like when the chunky kid in highschool asked out the most popular girl in the 12th grade. I like Roli, although i did think that Garon was going to have a good year last year (blew that one), but he needs to recognize that the Oilers already gave him a longer contract that anyone was going to 3 years ago. Its time for a little reality check.

    In reading all the comments, know who the biggest Roli supporter was that day? None other than our very own Wanye. Dictator for life and blessed with precognition as well. Who knew?

    • Indeed I believe I wrote that.

      Like I said earlier, I completely understand why the Oilers walked away from Roloson, but I didnt think he was done. I thought he didnt have a leg to stand on as far as bargaining a new contract was concerned. I thought at that stage of his career he wasnt going to get more than a year at a time. He was getting older and there were other goalies on the market that year, not just NK. I was definitely in the “Play Hardball” camp (as evidenced above), but even Ender’s quote starts off with “Roli can play another year”.

      All I said to Monsieur Zarf was that I didnt think he was “done with” as a player at the end of 08/09.

      Zarf’s response at comment 34 outlines the idea that most fans thought he was done and sulking over losing his job to Garon. In his Final year as an Oiler Roli won back his job as the starter and played 60+ games with a .915 save%. All I’m arguing is the reason why I as a fan was generally OK when he wasnt re-signed.

      • Ender

        I completely agree. Here’s some snippets from Wanye that day supporting the theory:

        Wanye wrote:

        2006-07 (27 wins)2.75 GAA 0.909 PCT 2007-08 (15 wins)3.05 GAA 0.901 PCT 2008-09 (28 wins)2.77 GAA 0.915 PCT

        27 and 28 wins in his last two full seasons (when Garon wasn’t messing with his starter’s job) and a steady save % that improved last year.

        He is actually remarkably consistent.

        This team has a boat load of holes but goaltending isn’t one of them.

        Wanye wrote:

        There is an absolute vacuum of goaltending prospects in the system behind Roloson – who will not be an option as a starter in a couple of years simply due to his age and the physical demands of being a starting goalie 55 games + per year. If you look at the players currently in the system and ask “how is goaltending in 4 years” the answer is “probably crappy.”

        If someone wants to say this is a real problem for the team in the goaltending department I can see this. But all this Roloson criticism of his current play is absolute garbage.

        We don’t have to sit here and argue that he is Vezina material year after year – fine. But to say that Roloson is in some way responsible for the problems on the ice these past three years is nonsense.

        If I was Roloson and I knew how I had performed as an Oiler and I saw how fickle the fans here are – alternating between standing ROLI chants and demanding he be sent out of town on the next thing smoking – I would tell my agent to send me to a better team with a more stable fan base where I could play out my career in peace with an outside chance of winning the Cup.

        But no, instead Roloson actually wants to remain here despite the shabby treatment from the Coaching Staff and large sections of the fan base.

  • O.C.

    I think Fasth would be a great signing for the oil. We have several swedish players who would help make the transition that much easier.

    One Player im surprised nobody is talking about right now is Jaromir Jagr. Yes hes 39, but he is lighting up the world championship and has said he would give the oilers first shot if he were to come back. Who better to tutor our many young players? He brings a ton of experience and would be a deadly combo with hemsky. We draft Nugent Hopkins and then there is no pressure to rush him into the lineup and gives you some time to possibly deal sam gagner.

    The oilers instantly become a better team adding Fasth and Jagr.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    A lot of you are commenting how Nucks Nation is a bit slow. It is an easy fix During the next series and the final if some how they pull off a shocker. Go to the Nucks Nation website and spew a few comments. It will produce action then Nucks fans will show up and shoot back. I am not saying you have to be nice or pretend you are not Oil fans just create some heat. Why Because when we get in to a Western Final with the Nucks it will be fun to go over there and RUB IT IN THEIR FACES when we go to the Finals and Win the Silver! Besides Rivalry’s are Good and Calgary could be a while!

    • positivebrontefan

      Waxman and myself went over there during game seven of the Chicago series and i think we had the comments over 35 with just the two of us. We had a field day with the the one guy that shot back at us but alas he had the last laugh.

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        I was just over and Replied to an “12 Questions post it was such fun giving my unbiased opinion on why I feel Vancouver is not Canada’s team. OilersNation Show some rivalry spirit! Go over there.

  • striker777

    Morning LT, nice article. The goalies ARE important but timing is everything:

    When the Oilers captured lightning in a bottle, they had tried to secure a legitimate goaltender all season long and instead endured the 3 headed monster of Markkannen, Conky, and …the other guy (funny, I can’t remember his name but I remember I liked him- hated Conky and can remember him easily). Point being they had to trade a first rounder for a back up goalie.

    Fast forward to the Bryzgalov give away to Phoenix- I think he went for less than Rolie.

    As to this new guy. He might pan out- it’s the same with all prospects. Anyone remember the goalie the leafs signed 2 years ago from Sweden? Where is he now??

    Killer day out there, should be golfing…only 19 more years to go.

    • Ender

      The third head of the monster that year was Morrison. I liked him too; pity he never followed up his initial performance. The job was there for any of the three if they could have proved they deserved it.

  • Be it Fasth or Gerber or someone else, one thing is for certain, someone needs to be brought in to light a fire under Khabibulin’s backside.

    Personally, I think Khabibulin is done. He looked slow and old far too often last year. A lot of worn tread on those tires. That’s a hard thing to recover from. He’s fighting an uphill battle just to be passable.

  • Be it Fasth or Gerber or someone else, one thing is for certain, someone needs to be brought in to light a fire under Khabibulin’s backside.

    Personally, I think Khabibulin is done. He looked slow and old far too often last year. A lot of worn tread on those tires. That’s a hard thing to recover from. He’s fighting an uphill battle just to be passable.

  • master of my domain

    I often wonder if there would be any takers (suckers) for NK on re-entry waivers. c’mon philli, you know you want an experienced, stanley cup winning goalie.